A much belated hello, update, and discussion of my COETAIL final project.

Hello fellow COETAIL Cohort 9 members, and anyone else who may be reading!  It has been a long time since I have posted here, but that is certainly not for a lack of things to write about.  I’ve been quite busy with my teaching this semester, having grade 11 and 12 IB Chemistry classes, an MYP grade 10 science class, and a number of extra-curricular projects in the works.  

I have had a slow start in defining what I wanted to do for my final project.  I have struggled a bit so far this semester with trying to design and articulate my COETAIL final project to myself, to say nothing of communicating it to others.  I am in a position this year that doesn’t lend itself well to completely redesigning units, as the instructions for the final project specifically ask far.   

Instead, I plan on presenting evidence of a different approach to my teaching, planning, lesson, and assessment design in general.  I plan to offer evidence of how what I have learned in my four previous COETAIL courses have influenced and changed how I think as an educator, and how I approach my craft.  

I use G Suite tools in my teaching, but I know that my level of use of these tools, and the way that I use them, differs from many of my colleagues.  Since August of this year, I have embarked on a number of projects and habits that incorporate more of the G Suite tools more explicitly in my practice.  

One of the projects that has taken a large amount of my time is the creation of a website for my IB Chemistry classes.  My school does not currently use an LMS (such as Moodle, or Canvas) but instead, uses Managebac for the general administration of school information.  This choice makes sense given that we are an IB World School implementing the PYP, MYP, and DP programs.  Managebac is great for the general administration of school-related affairs, such as attendance, contact information, report/comment history, among many other things. However, what it isn’t great for is being an LMS replacement where students can easily access documents, lessons, resources, and other material related to their courses in a quick and intuitive manner.

So, recognizing this, I have used Google Sites to build an IB Chemistry website.  This is a work-in-progress, but I have been working in my spare time to build out sub-sections for each of the IB Chemistry topics.  I am not making my own videos or resources to put on this site, but I am rather opting to act as content curator for my students by choosing videos, articles, questions, and other resources that I have evaluated as excellent and related to the IB Chemistry curriculum.  

I have also begun to use Google Forms to regularly solicit feedback from my students in all of my classes.  For the first handful of years in my teaching career, “feedback” meant teacher-to-student feedback.  Feedback on assessments, progress, learning, study habits, behavior, etc. However, I am increasingly interested in changing this to be a two-way channel.  Specifically this semester, I wanted to seek specific feedback from my students, about how they perceived how to courses were going. So far, I am happy that I have decided to do this – the feedback I have received has provided valuable insight for me, and caused me to change some aspects of the course.  

I have also been utilizing Google Classroom, as a way of sending my students quick messages to keep updated with course announcements, and links to extension articles such as news stories, or other resources related to the course.  

Anatomy class

(Is this the Anatomy class of 2025?  Sooner?  Image: zSpace All-in-One for Education. ) 

Finally, and perhaps the aspect of the new semester that I am most excited about, I have begun using elements of augmented and virtual reality in my classroom.  I have been keenly interested in applications of augmented and virtual reality in education for a while now, and during the past 6 months or so I have been thinking about how I can incorporate these tools into my classroom.  While the technology behind AR and VR is developing rapidly, the adoption of these technologies by educators still a very nascent trend. One of my goals as an educator, beyond the termination of my COETAIL courses, is to be on the forefront of the application of AR and VR to the classroom.  I personally believe the opportunities aid and enhance learning are tremendous.

In his TED talk below, Florian Radke discusses the tremendous potential for AR, and how it is poised to “completely change how we learn, how we work, and perhaps how we think.”

 

Thanks for reading this far!  If you have any suggestions about how you use Google Apps/Tools, especially for the secondary science classroom, please post a message below.  Additionally, if you have any AR/VR apps, articles, websites, or resources you could point out, I would love to hear from you.

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